Fiji is a developing country, and its standard of healthcare reflects this. Expats and visitors travelling to and moving to Fiji must ensure they have comprehensive healthcare coverage that allows access to private medical treatment should the need arise.
Public healthcare in Fiji
The standard of public healthcare in Fiji varies considerably. Hospitals in urban areas may be adequate, but those in rural areas are either basic and inefficient or non-existent. In many cases, Fijians living in rural areas travel for hours to access treatment.
Expats can seek treatment at government-run hospitals in Fiji. Although, the standard of care is not always good and wait times tend to be lengthy as a result of understaffing.
Expats should secure access to private healthcare in Fiji, wherever possible, as standards are likely to be closer to those in Western countries with shorter waiting times and facilities that are more modern.
Private healthcare in Fiji
There are a few private hospitals in Fiji, most of which are in Suva or Nadi. These hospitals generally have 24-hour medical centres with general practitioners, specialist doctors and relatively comfortable in-patient facilities. That said, there is a lack of diagnostic equipment and specialists typical in developed countries. Expats should therefore include medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand as part of their health insurance cover.
Pharmacies in Fiji
Pharmacies in Fiji are typically available in major cities and towns and close to or within tourist resorts. Pharmaceutical supplies are largely adequate, but lack the variety on offer in Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, those travelling to Fiji should ensure they have a sufficient supply of necessary medication with them at all times.
It is also quite rare to find a 24-hour pharmacy in Fiji. Expats bringing prescription medication to the country should carry a doctor’s letter or prescription from home.
Health hazards in Fiji
There are several health risks expats should be aware of when moving to Fiji. Food poisoning and stomach bugs can be an issue for new arrivals. Expats should be careful when purchasing meat and fish products, especially from roadside markets, where there is usually no refrigeration.
Expats should avoid tap water, salads and raw vegetables washed with tap water, and ice in soft drinks. Water- and food-borne infectious diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis are prevalent in Fiji.
Pre-travel vaccinations for Fiji
There are no mandatory immunisations required for travel to Fiji. However, those moving to Fiji should ensure routine vaccinations, including the measles-mumps-rubella, the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, chicken pox, Covid-19 and flu vaccines are up-to-date.
Emergency services in Fiji
In a medical emergency, expats can call an ambulance on 911. However, expats should note that emergency medical infrastructure in Fiji is underdeveloped, and response times for ambulances can be slow. Ambulances in Fiji are also poorly equipped, and the staff is not always well-trained.